Dr Liz Ballou studied organic chemistry at Mount Holyoke College in the US before moving to the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to study Molecular Biology in the context of infectious diseases. She went on to earn a PhD in Genetics and Genomics from Duke University, where her thesis revealed shared and divergent molecular mechanisms underlying the roles of duplicate, highly conserved regulators of morphogenesis in Cryptococcus neoformans pathogenesis.
In 2012 she moved to the Aberdeen Fungal Group at the University of Aberdeen, where she investigated the impact of the dynamic host microenvironment on pathogenesis and immune evasion of the human fungal pathogen Candida albicans in the laboratory of Prof Alistair Brown.
In 2015, she was awarded a prestigious BBSRC Anniversary Future Leaders Fellowship, allowing her to launch her own group as part of the University of Aberdeen’s MRC Centre for Medical Mycology. Her work at Aberdeen culminated in her discovery that C. albicans senses host lactate and responds by masking key Pathogen-Associated Molecular Patterns (PAMPs) on the fungal cell surface, thereby evading the host immune response. In 2017, Liz moved to the University of Birmingham as a Lecturer in Cellular Microbiology.